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Image 1 for Curious swimmer attacked by pissed-off octopus at Georgraphe Bay

When octopi attack, filmed from Lance’s phone. But this was just the initial foray. Little did Lance Karlson (not to be confused with Lance Carson) know the angry cephalpod would return!

Image 2 for Curious swimmer attacked by pissed-off octopus at Georgraphe Bay

Lance's neck after the eight-legged thrashing.

Image 3 for Curious swimmer attacked by pissed-off octopus at Georgraphe Bay

Curious swimmer attacked by pissed-off octopus at Georgraphe Bay

1 April 21

From the odd sea story file: We read a lot about shark attacks in Western Australia - but octopuses? Not so much.

But for one man going for a swim in waters south of Perth, he got a quick lesson on the potential dangers of getting too close to the tentacled creature.

Lance Karlson took to Instagram to share his bizarre experience of being attacked by a grumpy octopus at Geographe Bay in Dunsborough earlier this month.

He was walking along the shore on the afternoon of March 18 when he spotted the tentacles of an octopus lash at a seagull on the water’s surface.

He got his camera out and began filming as the octopus swam towards where he and his young daughter were standing.

The octopus waved its tentacles at them before moving away.

About 20 minutes later, Karlson decided to go for a swim when he saw the octopus swimming away from a bed of shells.

“I was only there for a few seconds looking at the shells when I was struck on the arm from behind,” he told

“My goggles fogged up and then I was struck again, this time of the neck.

“I quickly swam back to shore, around 25 metres away.”

The tentacles had left visible red welts on Karlson’s neck.

“The sting wasn’t particularly painful, it was more the shock of what happened and fear from not being able to see,” he said.

“After only a minute onshore the imprints of tentacles had formed across my neck and down my upper back.

“We quickly gathered up our beach tent and went back to our hotel room.

“We didn’t have any vinegar to pour on it, which is what you usually do with any kind of ocean sting, so I asked my wife to pour Coke on it and the sting went away.”

Turns out Coka Cola is good for something!

Karlson, a former surf lifesaver, knew that anything acidic could work to lessen the sting, hence the Coke suggestion - and it worked.

“I didn’t actually know if Coke would work, but given how acidic it is I decided it was worth trying,” he said.

“Turns out it works.”

Karlson said an octopus sting was not as painful as a bluebottle or other ocean sting and he didn’t go to a doctor after the incident.

“It didn’t seem significant enough to go to a doctor or report to authorities,” he said.

“I think it was stirred up by a seagull, which it was aggressive towards, and then it reached its threshold with me.”

The video Karlson posted to Instagram has since been viewed nearly 2,000 times.

“This is the coolest post I’ve looked at yet this morning,” one person wrote, adding an octopus emoji.

“I can’t believe how fast those tentacles whipped out of the water,” another observed.

“I was already hesitant with sharks and saltwater crocs,” one person wrote.

“You have attacking octopus ... I’m never going in the water again!”



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